Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"The Map of Time" by Felix J. Palma - A Review


Title: The Map of Time
Author: Felix J. Palma (Translated by: Nick Caistor)
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Available for Pre-order here: Simon & Schuster / Books-a-Million / Barnes & Noble

My Review

"The Map of Time" by Felix J. Palma is a book that defies being boxed into a single genre. Its a magnificent novel that is part Historical Fiction, part Science Fiction, part Romance, even part Steampunk, and all in all, a great Mystery/Thriller. Even if you are a fan of only one of those genres, but not a fan of the others, I guarantee that you are still going to enjoy this book because it manages to do justice to all the genres it encompasses.

The book begins with a narrator introducing the reader to the story and its various characters. Author Palma has created a narrator with a clear, strong voice and a commanding presence. The narration is fluid, and on various occasions it tends to engage into direct dialogue with the reader, thus drawing the reader right into the novel itself. It has been quite some time since I have enjoyed a book narrated in the third-person, and seldom have I come across a narrator who resonates so well with me.

The story is simple, and the story is good. It involves the manipulation of time, and time travel, and is full of adventures. But it is not just telling an interesting story that this author succeeds in, he has also given birth to characters that are dynamic and multi-dimensional, much like the story itself. Felix J. Palma takes great pains to infuse as much detail as possible into his story, he leaves no stone unturned in order to give great depth to his characters, which in turn gives a lot of substance to this magical tale.

The novel is woven around three main intertwined tales. First, we have Andrew Harrington, the wealthy and heartbroken bachelor residing in Victorian London who lost the love of his life, prostitute Marie Kelly, to the evil and conniving murderer 'Jack the Ripper'. In his destitution, and inability to move on from his tragedy, he is willing to try anything, perhaps something even as implausible as time travel, in order to save Marie Kelly from the hands of the cold-blooded murderer. Then there's Claire Haggerty, a woman who feels stifled by the norms of the Victorian society which dictate her to marry a suitable man from the many suitors that her family finds for her. She feels disconnected from the people and customs of her time, and longs to exist in another world - a world where she is free to follow her desires, and love whomever she pleases. Last, but definitely not the least, there is the young author H.G. Wells, the man whose novel, 'The Time Machine' has motivated many to try their hands at time travel, and his book becomes the root from which the branches of this story sprout forth. Also incorporated into the story are the stories of Dracula, Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man), and the futuristic Captain Shackleton battling the automatons of the year 2000.

Ultimately, Felix J. Palma has authored a novel that is sublime in all its aspects. Acerbic wit, intellectual commentary, mind boggling twists and turns, combined with unique characters makes for an enchanting, satisfying and deeply mesmerizing novel. In the novel, the author writes about an invention being something that supersedes the being of the man who invents it, and outlasts him to form part of world as it goes into the future - to which I surmise that in this case, "The Map of Time" is Felix J. Palma's greatest invention to date, a novel invention that transports us to another place and another time, and this will surely be a novel talked about for ages to come.

My Rating : 5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: Although I received an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of this book for review, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.



  1. hi Hira! congratulations on your first review! it was great and The Map of Time sounds very interesting and has something for everyone. i am so glad you finally have a blog! i'm now a follower, i subscribed to your feeds, linked your blog's URL to my buddy blogger's page and included it on my buddy blogger's blogroll! c",)

  2. @aobibliophile™

    Hey Aobibliophile,

    You've always been so very encouraging and supportive. I thank you SO much for following me - I hope to bring many more wonderful books to your attention via my reviews. Stay tuned! And thank you, once again! :)


  3. Hira, I love the background to you blog! The Map of Time sounds like a really good book. I've seen this book around and have been really curious about it. I'll have to add it to the TBR list. Thanks for your great review.

    To Read or Not To Read

  4. What an amazing review!!!! I'm off to add this one to my WL right now!!! I hadn't even heard of it :) So your first review and you have already managed to sell a book, GO YOU! ;)

  5. @Reading Angel

    Dear Angela,

    I'm not one to rely on cliches, but sometimes you really are "the wind beneath my wings", and your encouraging words always mean so much to me! :) "So your first review and you have already managed to sell a book, GO YOU!" - that is a HUGE compliment for a book blogger, I think, and I thank you for your kind and wonderful words. I really hope you enjoy the book as much as I did :)


  6. @Marcie

    Hello Marcie,

    Thank you so much for taking the time out to read this post. I'm glad you like the background - I chose it because the colors reminded me of a sunset. I hope you will read the book, and that it will be enjoyable for you as well! :)


  7. I don't know how I didn't hear of this one before, but I WANT! I LOVE historical fiction, Steampunk, and science fiction. Sounds like I NEED this one! I'm off to add it to my wish list! I'm sold!

  8. Wow...this place is looking great! Good work on the site, Hira! :)

    The cover of this book just draws me in, but that combined with your review--I'll have to add this to my MUST-READ list.

  9. Wonderful review! I skipped your second to last paragraph (the summary) because I am currently caught up in reading this one myself. I love it; it's a pretty big one, but for the size, I'm flying through it, as I open it every chance I get!

    Hopping over from Cym's party!

  10. @Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

    Dear Julie,

    I was intimidated by the size as well, but am really glad I stuck with it because I absolutely loved it. Happy Reading :)


  11. Wasn't this book the best? I, too, felt that it definitely could not be pushed into one particular genre, and it's hard to really give a synopsis without giving away key parts of the story that are what keep you reading! Just an all-around excellent book!

  12. I still reading this one myself. I love the writing.